Report by Friday Friends Co-ordinator Louise Barnard
‘After a very busy May and June, the highlights of which were the official launch of the cafe by the new Ipswich Mayor , a vintage bus trip to Felixstowe and a Cupcake Fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society, we filled July with some great activities at the cafe.
We had a visit in July, from local artist Sarah from Pop Print Studio, who held an activity where we decorated a table cloth. We used lots of different vegetables to make stamps which we dipped in paint and produced a beautiful tablecloth that we now use each week at the cafe (spot it under the tea party food). Everyone signed their names and the tablecloth is much admired. We’ll definitely be asking Sarah to return so we can make another one to grace our tables and to add names of our new customers.
Ruth Gillan, who has been coming to the cafe as our “Activities Co-ordinator” since we opened at the end of March, left us at the end of July to move to a new setting as part of the project she is running. We were very sad to see her go and miss her kindness, warmth and friendship at the cafe. We presented her with a bouquet of flowers to thank her for all her support over the previous four months.
The food at the cafe continues to be the “star” attraction and our volunteer cook Pat and her merry bunch of helpers produce an amazing two course hot lunch each week. In July, we undertook a survey of our customers asking them what their favourite foods were so we could consider adding them to the menu. Chicken roast dinner, shepherd’s pie, any stew as long as it has got dumplings with it (!), ham, egg and chips, sausage casserole, rice pudding and crumbles were listed as favourites. We aim to please and all these meals will appear regularly on the menu.
We closed for the month of August as lots of the volunteers and customers were away on their holidays. But before we closed, at our last session at the end of July we had a “proper” tea party. Everyone was asked to bring in a tea cup and plate that meant something to them and we spent our activity session talking about the china. There were a broad range of items, from a “Elvis” mug – one of our volunteers is a huge fan – to very fine bone china dating back to the early 1900’s that belonged to a customers’ Mother. Then we got down the very important business of consuming the “feast” that was the tea party! The table was groaning with food. One of the volunteers, Betty, even made a pink blancmange rabbit sitting on green jelly grass. Apparently, in her family you always have a pink bunny gracing a tea party table. That brought back some memories for us all.
We opened again on 8 September and welcomed two new customers and a new volunteer to our cafe. We’ve had more enquiries from new customers and more offers of volunteering. So, we anticipate the next few months to be busy! We have plans to have speakers talking about the Ipswich War Memorial, hosting a Macmillan coffee morning and listening to an Accordion band play for us. We are also hoping to hold a “sporting memories” session, do some exercise sessions to improve balance, and in the run up to Christmas, we’ll be doing some more “crafty” activities. Our last session before Christmas will be a Christmas party where we will celebrate the season of “goodwill” to all!
So, if you, or someone you know is living with dementia and would like to come along with their carer to our cafe on Fridays from 10.30am-2.00pm at Whitehouse Baptist Church, please contact me, Louise Bernard, Friday Friends Co-ordinator on 01473 345350. You are assured of a warm welcome and lots of fun and laughter’.